Chuck Uzzle

For The Record

The easy north wind has already begun to work magic on local hunters as they eagerly await the September 1 opener of dove season here in Texas. North and Central Zone hunters will enjoy a few weeks of hunting before those of us south of IH-10 get into the mix of things. In years past the days leading up to the opener have been filled with some goofy weather that always seems to make an appearance before the season starts. For the past several seasons there have been some heavy rains wash out the dove opener and leave anxious hunters cursing the weatherman. The late August and early September time frame always lends itself to crazy weather thanks to tropical storms and an unstable Gulf of Mexico. Nothing ruins a hunt like weather coming through an area and pushing fields full of birds to other parts of the county or even state for that matter. As of this writing the Gulf of Mexico appears to be quiet and the weather pattern seems pretty solid so maybe we will get a break, but only time will tell.

If you plan to hit a dove field for opening day there are several things you need to be aware of and prepare for, some of these can be the difference between an enjoyable day afield or just plain misery. Probably the number one concern this time of year is heat, both for a hunter and their dog. A well stocked hunting bag or dove bucket will certainly include an ample supply of water. This is often the first journey outdoors for some hunters and they may not be in “hunting shape” so overheating is always a possibility. The same goes if you bring a dog, if they have not been working or training in the heat during the summer months they also may not be in the best shape so owners need to take precautions and be prepared.

Another big concern this time of the year is snakes; I personally am not a big fan so they usually meet a generous dose of #8’s if they invade my space. Paying attention to your surroundings is always smart and it just may keep you from a close encounter with a venomous critter. Many hunters bring a first aid kit complete with snake bite supplies when they head into the field and that’s a great precaution. Dove hunters who venture farther south in Texas have to deal with snakes more than we do, many a good dog and hunter have suffered from strikes while chasing white wings in that tough country. Local hunters have to keep an eye out for the water moccasins, especially those of us who frequent rice fields and other low lying areas that stay wet this time of year. Take an extra second or two when you reach down to pick up a bird and check out the area before you put your hand in harms way.

There is one more variable hunters will have to deal with and it’s probably the most annoying and that’s insects. Everyone who has ever gone outside in east Texas knows that mosquitoes are just a part of life and hunters especially know how bad these pests can be. Mosquito proof clothing is now available from several manufacturers and it works well in some cases. Many hunters have begun to sing the praises of the Thermacell, a small device powered by a butane cartridge that emits a small amount of repellant into the air around the user. I know several bow hunters who would rather go to the deer stand without arrows than leave their Thermacell behind. The device is small and well worth the money, I have used them during early teal season and they are life savers to say the least.

Hopefully the weather and birds will cooperate for the opener and we will have a good season. Just a few more days until it all starts, it can’t get here fast enough.